Why is motorcycle storage so important? The majority of motorcycles are owned as second vehicles these days, used on the weekends or other days off and purely for fun. Yes, some people still do ride their motorcycles through winter, but they are definitely in the minority. I can clearly remember riding through torrential downpours, or snow with frozen hands and feet, and asking myself why! So there is a clear need for motorcycle winter storage.
If you are one of the majority that doesn’t use their motorcycle during the winter, then read on. We’ll give you some simple tips for storing your motorcycle in winter so that when you want to ride again in the spring, you’ll be ready to go with the minimum of fuss.
Where to find motorcycle storage over winter
The ideal place for motorcycle storage is in your warm and dry garage. The perfect motorcycle garage will be heated and have dehumidifiers to remove moisture. But how many of us have access to the perfect garage?
The next best alternative is a shed, which is not perfect but protects your motorcycle from the elements and hopefully gives you space to work on it.
At the bottom of the pile is the motorcycle cover. While this can protect your motorcycle from the elements, many are not that great, plus you cant work on the bike, except when the weather allows. In some places, a simple cover won’t work as the weather is too severe.
An alternative is to put the motorcycle into a purpose-built motorcycle storage facility. The advantages of this are many;
- A climate-controlled facility will provide the perfect conditions for motorcycle storage.
- Security. The storage facility should have a sound security system.
- Space. Rent a large enough storage unit, and you can work on your motorcycle and also store your riding gear.
- Easy access. Many storage facilities offer 24/7 access.
Before putting your motorcycle into storage
Oil and filter
When your motorcycle engine burns fuel, part of this process creates harmful deposits that the engine oil holds in suspension. Carbon is one of the most corrosive deposits, and when a motorcycle is not used for a while, the oil and carbon deposits separate. The carbon is very corrosive, so changing the oil and filter is a good idea before putting your pride and joy into motorcycle storage.
There are two problems with fuel. First, it is hygroscopic and will absorb water that can seriously damage parts of your motorcycle. Second, old fuel can cause gumming, leaving deposits in fuel systems that will prevent your engine from running correctly.
There are two solutions;
- Drain the tank and fuel system entirely and make sure everything can vent correctly. The only issue here is that condensation may form if the motorcycle storage area is not climate-controlled.
- Add a fuel treatment to your tank just before you put the motorcycle into storage. Then run your motorcycle for a few miles to make sure the treatment is in the whole system. If your motorcycle has carburetors, then close the fuel tap and drain them. Finally, top your tank to the brim to prevent condensation from forming inside the tank.
Remove the battery from the motorcycle and either charge it thoroughly and then store it in a warm, dry room. Alternatively, connect it to a battery monitor and charger designed for maintaining batteries consistently.
Give your motorcycle a thorough clean
Take this opportunity to give your motorcycle a little TLC! Take of the fairing panels, remove the seats, lift the tank, and get to the areas that are usually neglected during a regular clean. Make sure everything is left spotless and dry.
Protect your tires
The weight of your motorcycle on the tires while in storage can damage them. If your motorcycle has a center stand, then use that. If not, then investing in paddock stands will pay dividends. Leaving your motorcycle standing on its tires, in the same spot for long periods, will distort the shape of the tire. They are useful for so many other reasons as well. Remember to protect the tires from direct sunlight, as this can damage them with long periods of exposure.
Apply protective oil
Several lightweight oil sprays are available that can be used to coat your motorcycle and protect it from corrosion. This step may not be necessary if your motorcycle is stored in a climate-controlled environment. At this stage, it would be a good idea to oil the chain as well.
Cover the motorcycle
Covering your motorcycle, even if it is in climate-controlled storage, will keep off the dust.
Bringing your motorcycle out of storage
If you’ve followed the steps above, your motorcycle should only need a minimum of work to get it ready for your first ride.
There are some simple, but essential checks to carry out;
- Check the oil, cooling, brake and clutch fluid levels
- Check the tire pressures and make sure the tires have no damage
- Check all the lights work correctly
- Make sure the controls all operate smoothly
- Push the bike forwards and make sure the brakes work
- Go for a slow speed ride, and then recheck everything.
Hopefully, your motorcycle is ready for another summer of two-wheeled fun!